CHICAGO - The federal judge overseeing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) concussion litigation on Dec. 17 rejected a $75 million settlement of the class action, expressing concerns about the adequacy of the fund and other details of the agreement (In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2492, Master Docket No. 1:13-cv-09116, N.D. Ill.).
PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert opined that a woman's fatal disease arose from take-home exposures, but he never linked her specific exposures to the disease as required by the asbestos multidistrict litigation guidelines, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held in affirming dismissal of the case on Dec. 17 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Angie Smiddy, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. 13-4423, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23735).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A woman's request for a new trial fails because she made a tactical decision to forgo such relief after a defendant violated an evidence order, an Illinois appeals court held Dec. 16 (Carol Holloway v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, No. 4-13-1118, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Any evidence gleaned from deposing an asbestos trust representative would be cumulative of and more easily obtained through the trust's governing documents, a Rhode Island judge held Dec. 16 (Maureen Gallagher, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5269, Constance Podedworny, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5268, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174226).
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) on Dec. 18 announced the establishment of an advisory committee, as a means of promoting Hong Kong as a leading center for international arbitration.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Dec. 15 denied requests filed by a gold mining company and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to correct alleged errors in a $740.3 million award issued in relation to the expropriation of a mining project (Gold Reserve Inc. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. ARB[AF]/09/1, ICSID).
MIAMI - In a Dec. 15 ruling, a Florida federal judge denied a series of expert testimony challenges under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) in a copyright infringement lawsuit over a Spanish-language soap opera, finding that the parties' objections went to the weight of the experts' testimony and not to its admissibility (LaTele Television C.A. v. Telemundo Communications Group LLC, et al., No. 1:12-cv-22539, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172864).
BOSTON - A class of smokers who want Philip Morris USA Inc. to pay for low-dose computer tomography (LDCT) to detect early signs of smoking-related diseases has not produced sufficient evidence to prove that the company could have marketed a safer cigarette, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Dec. 12 (Kathleen Donovan, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 1:06cv12234, D. Mass.).
LOS ANGELES - Two former employees filed a putative class complaint against Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. in California federal court Dec. 15, asserting that the entertainment giant was negligent in its cyber security, which led to the recent breach of Sony's computer network and the compromising of the personal identifying information (PII) of thousands of past and present employees (Michael Corona, et al. v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., No. 2:14-cv-09600, C.D. Calif.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - In the first day of deliberation after 10 days of oral arguments, a California federal jury on Dec. 16 found that firmware and software updates that Apple Inc. made to its iTunes and iPod products were "genuine product improvements" and, therefore, did not constitute efforts to monopolize the digital music market by precluding the play of music purchased from other digital retailers on Apple devices in violation of federal antitrust law (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge did not err in dismissing a federal securities class action lawsuit because lead plaintiffs failed to plead scienter and loss causation, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 16 (Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, et al. v. Apollo Group Inc., et al., No. 12-16624, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23677).
CHICAGO - Class representatives in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) concussion litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Dec. 16 renewed their motion to add athletes in noncontact sports as representatives of the settlement class (In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2492, Master Docket No. 1:13-cv-09116, N.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Dec. 15 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion for a protective order in a breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer is not required to "produce loss reserve documents that are entitled to work product or attorney-client privilege" (Theresa L. Schreib v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-0165, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172973).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - In response to the People's Republic of China's recent statement that it will not participate in arbitration with the Republic of Philippines over a maritime dispute, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Dec. 17 issued an order requesting additional information on the merits of the case (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People's Republic of China, PCA).
PHILADELPHIA - The defendant in an insurance breach-of-contract class complaint may rely on statements made by the lead plaintiff regarding the class size to prove numerosity, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 12, partially reversing a District Court's ruling (Francine Judon, et al. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, Nos. 14-3406 and 14-4099, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23554).
OAKLAND, Calif. - After finding that a discovery request for information on license agreements would not unduly burden a company, a California federal judge on Dec. 15 granted a request by several Google entities to obtain discovery for use in two international arbitrations (In re Application of Google Inc., et al., No. 14-mc-80333, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173085).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 15 certified a class of steakhouse workers alleging that their employer improperly administered its tip pool but denied the workers' partial motion for summary judgment, finding that a reasonable juror could determine that the operation of the tip pool was proper (Amy Starr, et al. v. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, LLC, No. 12-4416, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172645).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 15 declined to hear arguments in a lawsuit where a federal court had overruled a chemical company's challenge regarding the credibility of a plaintiff's expert in a groundwater contamination case. The company had contended that the federal court's ruling conflicted with Supreme Court precedent (SQM North America Corp. v. City of Pomona, Calif., No. 14-297, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Dec. 12 partially dismissed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act actions filed by two health insurers seeking to represent a class of third-party payers who allegedly paid for fraudulent prescriptions for the antidepressants Lexapro and Celexa but allowed other claims to continue against Forest Laboratories Inc. (In Re: Celexa and Lexapro Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 09-2067, Painters and Allied Trade District Council 82 Health Care Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 13-13113, New Mexico UFCW Union's and Employer's Health and Welfare Trust Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 14-10784, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172176).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 denied a petition for a panel rehearing and a petition for rehearing en banc in a case in which the court affirmed a district court's award of restitution and denial of prejudgment interest in a case alleging that Wells Fargo Bank NA violated the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by misleading consumers by posting debit transactions in highest-to-lowest order, but vacated the lower court's injunction and remanded for entry of an injunction consistent with its decision. On Dec. 15, Wells Fargo moved to stay the mandate pending its filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court and the court's final disposition of the case (Veronica Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nos. 13-16195, 13-16598, 9th Cir.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Dec. 12 granted final approval of a $250,000 settlement of a class complaint accusing a New Jersey employer of failing to pay for travel time and the correct prevailing wage rate (John Mulroy, et al. v. National Water Main Cleaning Company of New Jersey, No. 12-3669, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171904).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 rejected a claim of "trial by formula" and upheld the certification of 187,979 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's Club (collectively, Wal-Mart) workers who brought a wage-and-hour suit and a more than $187 million award for those workers (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 32 EAP 2012, Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 33 EAP 2012, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3324).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 11 granted conditional certification in a wage suit filed by a home health care aide but limited the class to those individuals within Pennsylvania, finding that the lead plaintiff failed to produce evidence supporting a nationwide class (Markisha Gordon, et al. v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., No. 13-7175, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172054).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 10 found that a putative class of consumers had met the minimum damages threshold under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) to permit their fraud and unfair trade claims against a bitcoin miner manufacturer to proceed, denying a motion to dismiss (Craig Lenell, et al. v. Advanced Mining Technology Inc., et al., No. 14-1924, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172052).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) issued an order Dec. 10 consolidating for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas suits alleging that yogurt sold by Whole Foods Market Inc. under the brand Whole Foods 365 Greek Yogurt contains as much as six times the advertised amount of sugar (In re Whole Foods Market Inc. Greek Yogurt Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 2588, U.S. JPMDL).